How to Prepare for a Job Interview - Free Checklist [2020]

how to prepare for an interview

Interview preparation is one of the most important tasks you spend time on in advance of your job interview. There are multiple types of interviews; a phone interview, video interview, panel interview, second interview, virtual interview, group interview, informational interview, lunch interview, and more.

Knowing how to prepare for an interview and where to put your resources in terms of time management can increase the chances for success ten-fold. Below is a checklist of tasks that can help to make sure that you spend your time wisely. And that you don’t forget or neglect anything that might be required in terms of preparation before your interview.

In order to impress your hiring manager in the interview, here’s a job interview preparation checklist:

Interview Tips

Being prepared for the big interview can be stressful. There’s a lot to consider about what your employer is looking for and how you might be able to facilitate the interview process. Here are some of the best job interview tips for feeling prepared to take on each question that comes your way.

Practice good body language habits

Sitting in a comfortable position exudes confidence. And confident body language, combined with good answers to each interview question can be powerful. Take time to consider the habits you have regarding body language. This includes eye contact habits, the direction you point your head or face, and the number of times you use facial expressions like smiling. These can be powerful methods of delivery when answering questions.

Know the job requirements

It’s important not to ask questions like, “What will I be doing?” You should have familiarity with the job description so that you can ask questions to the hiring manager or recruiter that show you’ve done your homework.

Have questions for the interviewer

Whether it’s a phone interview or informational interview, have at least 3 to 5 questions prepared for the interviewer. These should not be questions like, “Who will I be working with?” They should be questions like, “What does success look like for this role?” or “What will I be working on in my first 90-days?” These types of questions show your potential employer your experience level and show your interview skills.

Be ready for ice breaker questions

Be ready for the common interview question like, “Why do you want this job?” or “What is your dream job?” is important to nail. Have your answer prepared in advance and be sure it’s something that is personalized and unique to your career and story. Answering these questions without impact won’t make a good first impression to the interviewer.

Know why you’re a good fit for the role

Being a good fit for the role isn’t simply having a successful interview with your prospective employer. It’s about understanding what the company is trying to achieve through the job opening and job position, and then displaying accomplishments in your job interview that show your comprehension and experience of performing the job they need. Alluding to these targeted accomplishments while interviewing can be impactful for your interviewer.

Know what makes you a unique job seeker

Have a good understanding of who you are and what you might predict other job candidates are speaking about to the hiring manager. Try to predict how they are trying to align themselves with the job and aim to do better than the rest. This could be accomplishments or unique stories that make you who you are. A unique start to your career, a significant personal accomplishment, or a list of work accolades that you know is strong. Avoid speaking about a skill or set of skills that you have. These aren’t sufficient enough to draw attention to you and create interview success.

Have something in common

When you speak with the hiring manager, and you know who they are, have something in common. A mutual friend that you both follow on social media or twitter can be a great way to build chemistry in the conversation and start the interview informally. This initial connection can set a positive tone for the entire interview process. This is one of the most unique but proven tips provided to those in a job search.


Questions from job seekers.

How much time should I spend preparing for my job interview?

Some of these preparation steps should be taken a few days before your interview, like researching the company and practicing your interview questions. Generally speaking, around 30% of job seekers require anywhere from five to nine hours of time in order to prepare for a successful interview.

Should I know what my strengths and weaknesses are?

Yes. Resources are available regarding strengths and weaknesses to help you better answer this interview question that might arise during your interview.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


Help us by spreading the word